Kitchen Overhaul – The Shirt Before the Shirt

Who got that Jersey Shore reference? No one? Looks like I’m leaking my guilty pleasures already. Whatever. Vito likes Jersey Shore too! To fill all of you non-tshirt-time-lovers in, the “shirt before the shirt” refers to the outfit you wear while you’re getting ready to go out for the night, before you put on your final shirt that everyone will see you in. So, how does this have anything to do with our kitchen renovation? Plain and simple, this is the phase where we prep the bones of the kitchen before putting the pretty stuff in the kitchen. Yes, that just happened, I (somewhat) successfully connected the Jersey Shore TV show to a kitchen remodel. Maybe I’ve officially lost it? Maybe it’s the stain and sealer fumes. Anyway, back to the renovations.

In this (kinda boring ’cause it’s not pretty) stage, we had to take care of two areas: the walls and the ceiling. Because of the tile that was squished onto the walls and the wainscoting that was layered on top, we were left with and uneven surface that was in no way ready for paint. So, that was the first fix.

Before, ickiness:


After, all spackled and sanded:


We also skim coated the opposite wall and the back right corner near where the fridge will go. Thank the Lord we didn’t have the finish the entire wall (it’ll be covered up with the cabinets and back splash).

Then, it was time for the ceiling. This part was unexpected (to me) before the wall was down, but once it was, we were left with two different ceiling heights. The kitchen had been remodeled at some point in ancient history and at that time they had installed drywall. So, once the wall was down it was pretty obvious that we had to fix the problem of the kitchen ceiling not meeting the dining room ceiling.


Step 1: (as in most of our tutorials), get ready.


You mean you’ve never posed with a caulk gun like it’s a real one? I should probably start showering before starting any project. And stop making weird faces.

Step 2: Make some bad ass support beams out of 2×4’s so that your head doesn’t get bruised trying to hold up the drywall. Also to help ensure that you don’t drop and/or break the drywall. Your husband won’t be happy if that happens.


Step 3: Prep your piece of drywall with some caulk, for added stickiness.


Step 4: Hoist that bad boy up to meet the ceiling and wait for your husband to drill enough screws before your arms fall off.

7f 7e

Step 5: Repeat until the whole ceiling is covered. Sidenote: the process is a bit more complicated than these happy pictures (measuring/cutting pieces to fit, making sure the screws are sunk, etc.) so if you have any specific questions, I’ll make sure Vito gets them 🙂

Step 6: Tape and spackle. Taping is kinda difficult. You have to put enough mud up there so that it sticks but not so much that you’re sanding for 3 years. I got kicked out of that part of the job – whoopsie.



Step 7: Sand

And sand, and sand, and sand until your little heart desires. Sand until those joints are smooth and seamless. I’ll give you a visual. Sand until you look like this:


I look ridiculous, but it’s all in fun. There’s nothing better than a dusty selfie!

Next, we get to some fun stuff! I.e. paint, floors, lighting, yay! Stay tuned.

Till then xo,

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